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Trump accuses Google search engine of story-selecting bias

By
Ed Adamczyk
President Donald Trump was critical of Google's search engine on Tuesday, accusing it of altering search results to accentuate negative coverage of his administration. File Photo by George Dolgikh/Shutterstock/UPI
President Donald Trump was critical of Google's search engine on Tuesday, accusing it of altering search results to accentuate negative coverage of his administration. File Photo by George Dolgikh/Shutterstock/UPI

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The Trump administration is examining whether search engines should be regulated, after President Donald Trump accused Google's search engine of bias.

In a series of posts to Twitter on Tuesday, Trump said a check of "Trump News" on Google yields only negative stories from established news sources he has described as "fake news." He said 96 percent of news stories originated from what he called "National Left-Wing Media." That figure echoed claims made in an article that appeared on PJ Media, a conservative blog, on Saturday.

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Trump said in his tweets that Google is "controlling what we can & cannot see" on the Internet. "This is a very serious situation - will be addressed!" he wrote, without offering specific actions.

It is unclear if Trump actually Googled his name, or if his comments were taken from PJ Media. His accusations were nearly identical to those of the blog.

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Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, said Tuesday that the administration is considering potential government regulation of search engines.

"We'll let you know. We're taking a look at it," Kudlow told reporters outside the White House. Google search results are affected by region, by a user's personal search history, and the volume of content produced by varying news outlets, the Washington Post noted Tuesday.

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"When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds," Google said Tuesday in a statement. "Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users' queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."

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Trump has been critical of what he perceives as online biases against his supporters. In July he accused Twitter of an "discriminatory and illegal practice" of discouraging conservative commentators.

Trump and Kudlow's comments Tuesday come as technology company leaders, including those from Google, Facebook and Twitter prepare to testify before Congress next week. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are among those who will attend the hearings to respond to allegations of censorship.

Facebook and Twitter have suspended hundreds of accounts to avoid interference in the November midterm elections. Facebook removed 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Iran, it said. Twitter said it has removed 770 accounts over "coordinated manipulation" prior to the elections.

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